Notes: The 2005 Ford Explorer one of our worst vehicles on record. "Avoid like the plague" is putting it lightly.

The 2002-2005 Explorer has a very well-established record of expensive transmission failure at under 100k miles. The Explorer has an enclosed transmission which is typically replaced with a rebuilt transmission at a cost of almost $3,000.

Adding insult to injury, the 2002-2005 Explorer also has a massive problem with the rear panel cracking. While it's a minor annoyance compared to transmission failure, ironically the crack usually goes right through the Ford logo.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
60,490 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2005 Ford Explorer fuel system problems

fuel system problem

Find something helpful? Spread the word.
Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2005 Ford Explorer:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

2005 Ford Explorer Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #37

Feb 012013


  • 65,000 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that while driving at 35 mph, the vehicle stalled without warning. The vehicle was able to restart. The failure occurred on several occasions. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic where it was diagnosed that the fuel filter needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired but the failure persisted. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 65,000.

- Glen Allen, VA, USA

problem #36

Jun 082012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • miles
TL-the contact owns a 2005 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that she filled the fuel tank up and the let the vehicle sit over night. The contact stated that the following morning she went to start the vehicle but the fuel tank was very close to empty. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer for inspection. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified of the failure. The failure mileage was unknown.

- Bergenfield, NJ, USA

problem #35

Feb 182012


  • 140,000 miles
After filling up my tank, the fuel gauge dropped to empty, and the check engine soon light came on. Also the system that tells me how many miles to empty only shows dashed instead of an actual number. I have looked online and this seems to be a common and pricey problem. The day after I filled up, it jumped to half a tank and then back to empty. This is very unsafe and I don't know if this will cause other problems. I have only had the truck 3 months.

- Jackson, MS, USA

problem #34

Feb 022012

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 73,000 miles


The fuel gauge quits working when I fill the tank. It starts working sometimes after a few days. The info center thinks I'm out of gas and sends a warning. Very annoying.

- Traverse City, MI, USA

problem #33

Jan 072010


  • 68,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the check engine light was illuminated. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where they advised him that the fuel sensor board failed and needed to be upgraded. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was contacted and they offered no assistance. The failure mileage was approximately 68,000 and the current mileage was approximately 91,400.

- Philadelphia, PA, USA

problem #32

Feb 272011


  • 70,000 miles
Gas cap light comes on triggering the check engine light.

- Hanover, MA, USA

problem #31

Jul 122011


  • 58,084 miles


While driving, when I applied the brakes, the car lurched and made a noise. About 1 minute after that, a warning light that stated "engine fail safe mode" and a little wrench showed up on the left of the instrument panel. I was driving home, and the car started to speed up without my increasing the speed using the gas pedal. The car continued to lurch off and on until I got home. I researched this problem on the internet and it seemed to be the throttle body assembly that had failed. Upon taking it to the mechanic, that is exactly what is was. The car was dangerous to drive, I could have been killed had the car's speed kept increasing. The repair was $1026.

- Punta Gorda, FL, USA

problem #30

Jun 232008


  • 100,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that after refueling, fuel began to spill out from the fuel filler neck. The vehicle was taken to an authorized dealer where the contact was informed that the a cannister within the fuel tank needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 100,000 and the current milage was 142,202.

- Springfield, VT, USA

problem #29

Jun 072011

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 135,000 miles
Was driving down the road about 200 miles from home and car was doing fine. All of the sudden I lost my gas gauge and the miles to empty reading "---". I have never had this problem. Then about 8 miles from my 314 mile destination it worked again, in which it read half a tank. Then after refueling, the gas gauge did the same thing. It has been that way for a day now and I try to go about 200 miles and then top it off again.

- Stephenville, TX, USA

problem #28

Nov 052009


  • 60,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Ford Explorer. The contact stated that the check fuel cap light was continuously illuminated. The contact replaced the fuel cap but the failure persisted. The contact also had the dealer reprogram the computer but to no avail. The failure mileage was 60,000 and the current mileage was 72,000.

- Maynard, MA, USA

problem #27

Apr 062011


  • 90,000 miles


"check fuel cap" light illuminates in '00-'05 Ford Explorer. There have been hundreds of reports of this issue occurring, and it is the result of emission failure parts in these vehicles. Each inspection and replacement of these parts is costing owners thousands of dollars in repairs, and is clearly a default of the company. Almost every report has shown trouble codes of P0455 or P0457, or both simultaneously. You can follow this thread and others at to see numerous occurrences of this same issue in multiple Ford Explorer. If the problem is not fixed right away, the check engine light or service engine soon lights illuminate as well. After Ford replaced my fuel cap and said this would solve the issue, my "check fuel cap" light illuminated a week later again. Ford then inspected my vehicle again and said nothing was wrong with the fuel system. It came on yet again, and now they are charging me over $1,000 in repairs including a $108 diagnostic check on my vehicle for codes P1000 and P0457. I do not have the money to continuously bring my vehicle to Ford for the same issue. This is the third time I've taken it to them, and they still cannot guarantee me this is the problem. Ford Explorer owners are asking for an investigation to be launched, and for Ford to recall their Explorer and fix this issue as soon as possible. I took my vehicle to the watertown Ford in watertown, MA.

- Reading, MA, USA

problem #26

Mar 022011

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 76,306 miles
I'm the original owner and have 76,306 miles on my Explorer. I noticed a gas smell. I took it in to the dealer. Dealer found a gas leak where the filler hose attaches to the gas tank. The plastic piece that is part of the gas tank had many cracks/fractures that allowed fuel to leak out. The only repair option is to replace the entire gas tank at a cost to me of $2,009. I feel this is a design flaw and a safety issue. The gas tank holds 22.5 gallons of fuel that could flow onto the hot exhaust pipe if the plastic filler piece failed completely.

- Palm Desert, CA, USA

problem #25

Nov 172010

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 97,218 miles
Gas hand does not function properly, sometimes you may fill the vehicle up and the gas hand will show empty. Since the gas hand stopped working properly the service engine soon light stays on. No way of knowing if I'm almost out of I have to keep filling it up so I won't be stranded on the side of the road.

- Scranton, SC, USA

problem #24

Feb 112011


  • miles
2005 Ford Explorer and every time we fill the tank with gas the gauge stops working until it reaches half a tank then shortly after that it drops to almost empty. So we never know what the amount of gas we have it. Been happening for about 2 years and can not afford to have it replaced. But the problem is getting worse.

- Clermont, FL, USA

problem #23

Feb 072011

Explorer 4WD 6-cyl

  • 80,520 miles
I purchased a 2005 Ford Explorer XLT 4X4. The day after I purchased it, I filled up the gas tank and 20 miles later my gas gauge all of a sudden read E and my service engine soon light came on, the repair shop states the fuel sending unit is bad and the repair is going to be expensive to fix. I went online and found out this is a very common problem with Ford. Why has there not been a recall for this? I sure hope I am not left stranded on the side of the road.

- Defuniak Springs, FL, USA

problem #22

Jan 082009


  • 60,539 miles
Refueling problems. Vehicle will accept only a very small quantity of fuel at a time, causing automatic shut off on fuel nozzle to activate. It takes 15-20 minutes to fill the tank.

- Warsaw, IN, USA

problem #21

Jul 202010

Explorer 6-cyl

  • 35,000 miles
Have owned 2005 Ford Explorer since new. After 35,000 miles the gas gauge started to bottom out on empty followed by a service engine soon light staying on. The gauge will start working again off and on but it's not reliable. Tried running a fuel cleaner through it a couple of times and did nothing for it. Also the tire pressure monitor says it's reading a bad sensor in one of the wheels. This vehicle is well taken care of and babied by my wife. There seems to be alot of consumers having the exact same troubles with the same vehicles. Why is Ford not held liable for these defects? this was not a budget low cost car. We paid over $36,000 for this SUV. Please help us in any way you can.

- Vancouver, WA, USA

problem #20

Jul 282010


  • 84,969 miles
The gas gauge intermittently will drop to E and is not showing correct fuel level or correct consumption. The service light came on after the first time of filling the rig with gas in addition to the gauge not working right. Called Ford themselves and was told that there is no known issue of this caliber and was encouraged to "print out the complaints I have found on line" and take it to the dealer. I purchased this vehicle used yesterday with 84K miles on it. How is it I can find complaints of the exact caliber I am having but Ford says there is no known problem?

- Spokane, WA, USA

problem #19

Dec 112009


  • 100,000 miles
2005 Ford Explorer suddenly stopped accepting fuel at all ca gas stations....must hold pump nozzle at very low volume for extremely long periods of time to fill tank completely and then backwash spills out without warning. Still ongoing problem...thank you

- Lockeford, CA, USA

problem #18

Jul 212007


  • 45,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Ford Explorer. When attempting to start the vehicle, the engine began to sputter. She restarted the vehicle to resume normal vehicle operation. On another occasion while driving, the power steering and brakes failed without warning, which caused her to crash into a fence. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic for inspection on two separate occasions. The failure was contributed to the fuel sensor and throttle position sensor. The throttle position sensor was replaced. The repair did not remedy the failure. The failure mileage was 45,000. The current mileage was 80,000. The vehicle identification number was unavailable.

- Jonesboro, AR, USA

Read the next 17 complaints »

Not what you are looking for?